High on the Mountain Top
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Langley, BC, Canada.
My daughter and I also rode Via Rail from Vancouver to Jasper last August -- it cost us $130 each (slightly more than Grey Hair's price) plus $25 per bike. We were told ahead of time that we'd have to arrive a bit early to box the bikes but when we got to the station (at Main and Terminal) they told us we could just roll our bikes onto the train, sans panniers (which we checked as baggage) -- it was nice not having to fiddle with handlebars and pedals when we arrived in Jasper. Our train left Vancouver at @ 8:30PM and we arrived the next afternoon in Jasper at around 4:15PM which gave us time to ride to the campground, set up our tents, and then ride a short distance back into town for some dinner at a restaurant. If you're planning to head out on the road early the next morning there are a couple of decent sized grocery stores in Jasper that are open until 10:00 PM each night which makes doing a grocery shopping fairly easy despite the late afternoon arrival.
A word of advice for the train -- sleeping wasn't too terribly bad if you're fine sleeping on an uneven surface (the seats don't fold completely flat, nor are are they long enough to stretch out fully) and it's a good idea to carry a sleeping bag with you as the train is quite cold at night despite warm August daytime temps -- makes sleeping a bit easier if you're warm. Something to use as a pillow is also a good idea. We also took some food and snacks with us for the train ride -- there is food service on board but the selection is not very good. It's a fairly long trip (most of it in the dark) so you'll want to take along some reading material, movies on an iPad, or something to keep yourself occupied.
Grey Hair, I looked through your site -- you've done some really interesting trips.